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Unit-I-Introduction to Communication-: Communication:Theory and Types - BA/Bsc/Bcom 1st Sem (Honours) under Dibrugarh University- A Text For AECC English Communication

Communication:Theory and Types


1. What is communication ?

Ans: According to Keith Davis '' Communication is the process of passing information and understanding from one person to another. ''

Communication is the process of exchange of information, ideas and emotions with the help of words, letters, symbols and messages which bring about common understanding and response The term 'communication' is derived from the Latin word 'communicare' which means to impart, to participate, to share or to make common. 

English Communication - BA/Bsc/Bcom - Under Dibrugarh University

2. What are the elements of communication ?

Ans :  Elements of the Communication Process: 

(i) Sender: The person who wishes to send the information or idea to others is known as the sender or communicator or speaker.

(ii) Receiver: The person who receives the information or for whom the information is meant is called the receiver or addressee.

(iii) Message: The subject matter of communication (information, ideas, instructions, orders, suggestions, etc.) which is meant to be transmitted to the receiver forms the message.

(iv) Communication symbols: The sender organizes his/her ideas into suitable symbols like letters, words, sounds, gestures,etc and uses them to communicate his/her message.

(v) Communication channels: The modes (mail service, telecommunication system, etc.) which help the sender to transmit the intended message and the receiver to receive the idea are known as the communication channels.

(vi) Feedback: The response or return message from the receiver to the sender after receiving and understanding the message is known as the feedback.

3. Discuss the importance of communication ?

Ans: Communication is an essential process that underlies all our everyday interactions. The importance of communication lies in the fact that through itbehavior is modified, change is effected, information is made more productive and goals are achieved. Communication binds people together. It improves the morale of employees in an organization. It helps in proper planning of events and responsibilities and proper co-ordination among employees. It forms the basis for any kind of decision making. It also builds mutual trust and confidence.

4. What are different types of communication ?

Ans: Communication can be categorized according to the following:

(i) Medium: Verbal and nonverbal communication.

(ii) Channel: Formal and informal communication.

(iii) Level: Interpersonal, intra personal and group communication.

5. What is verbal communication ?

Ans: Communication which uses words or languages is known as verbal communication. In order to express our thoughts through a language we have to arrange our words into various parts of speech in a proper sequence according to the rules of grammar and syntax. Verbal communication can be further divided into - Oral Communication and Written Communication.

6. What is non verbal Communication ?

Ans: Non-verbal communication refers to the exchange of ideas through the medium of gestures, body language, facial expressions etc. In fact, only 7% of our everyday communication is verbal while 38% is conveyed through our voice inflections and 55% through our body language. Thus, 93% of communication is non-verbal in nature. Non-verbal communication is both unstructured and spontaneous. It can help qualify, complement, contradict or expand the verbal message. By careful observation of body language, facial expressions and vocal characteristics, we can decipher the speaker's intended message.

7. What are different models of communication ?

Ans:The  different models of communication are - 

(i) Aristotle's One-Way Model of Communication. 

(ii) Shannon: Weaver Theory. 

(iii) Schramm's Theory. 

(iv) Newcomb Theory. 

(v) Watlawick - Beavin- Jackson Theory. 

(vi) David Berlo's SMCR Model of communication. 

(vii) Indian Communication Theory. 

8. What are the barriers to communication ? 

Ans: The barriers or hurdles at the personal level which prevent effective communication are as follows:


(i) Emotions: Emotions like extreme happiness, extreme pain and extreme anger do not allow effective communication.

(ii)Closed mind: Prejudices and firm beliefs lead to closed mind which prevent the free flow of communication.

(iii)) Status block: Status consciousness of both superiors and subordinates do not allow free and effective communication.

(iv) State of health: Unhealthy mental and physical state leads to improper communication.

(v) Poor communication skills: Poor communication skills in speaking, listening, writing and reading result in miscommunication.


The social activities or the problems which do not allow effective communication are known as social barriers to communication. Some of the social barriers are:

(i) Cultural differences: In international communication, the cultural barriers become barrier to communication. The same symbols, words, body movements convey different meanings to people from different cultures.

(ii) Group identification: The sense of belonging to a particular society, culture, religion, caste, religion, etc., regulates the feelings of an individual. Therefore, the ideas communicated may be accepted intellectually or rejected emotionally.

(iii) Interpretation of words: Some words have multiple meanings in different societies. The context in which a word is used by a particular society may not be understood equally in every society. This may lead to miscommunication.

(iv) Wrong choice of medium: The media available to the sender for transmission of a message is not suitable in every society. Wrong selection of media by the communicator results in miscommunication.

(v) Improper time: Different societies have different conceptions of time. Communication made at a time unacceptable for a society turns out to be a failure.


Hurdles that prevent effective communication in a business organization are called Business Barriers to communication. Some of the business barriers are:

(i) Organizational rules and regulations: Rigid rules and regulations of an organization restrict the flow of information among the various levels of employees and become hindrance in the process of communication. This delays transmission of messages and discourages the employees to put forward their innovative ideas.

(ii) Non conduction of staff meetings: In business houses where staff meetings and conferences are not held regularly, free communication does not take place. Here non conduction of meetings become a barrier to communication.

(iii) Hierarchical relationship: In most business houses, hierarchical and formal superior-subordinate relationships in the organizational structure. Cultural differences: In international communication, the cultural barriers become barrier to communication. The same symbols, words, body movements convey different meanings to people from different cultures.

(iv) Distance: Distance between different business houses becomes a barrier to communication when it is greater and in the absence of proper channel and media.

9.How can one overcome the barriers to communication ?

Ans: The strategies which can be taken for overcoming the barriers to communication in order to make communication more effective are:

(i) Overcome perceptional barriers: We can overcome perceptional barriers by becoming more alert and aware and through spiritual exercises.

(ii) Effective listening: Proper and effective listening to the communicator ensures free and open communication.

(iii) Create healthy and friendly environment: Communication becomes effective when the environment is healthy and friendly.

(iv) Convey emotional contents of the message: The message should be conveyed along with the emotional content in order to make effective communication.

(v) Use appropriate language: Using appropriate language and words understandable for the receiver helps in making the communication effective.

(vi) Use proper channel: Using appropriate channels of communication after proper audience analysis helps in effective communication. The communicator may choose a meeting, mail or telephone conversation, depending on the message to be conveyed.

(vii) Encourage open communication: Organisations should encourage open communication from subordinates to superiors for removing the communication gap among the employees.

10. Define: Intra-personal communication, Inter-personal communication, Group Communication.

Intrapersonal communication is the communication taking place within the mind of the individual. Clear intrapersonal communication serves many important functions, such as resolving self-doubt, helping one make decisions process emotions, and so on. We come to a better understanding of ourselves and our thoughts through "self-talk" or intrapersonal communication.

Inter-personal communication:
Interpersonal communication is the exchange of information or ideas taking place among two or more individuals. It includes the use of verbal and non- verbal language, as well as listening and writing skills.

Group communication: 

Group communication is the interaction taking place among two or more persons to influence each other. Formal group communication takes place in meetings, conferences, teams etc. Informal group communication takes place spontaneously when people in societies meet for parties, marriages, etc.

Additional Common Questions: 

(1) Explain:

(i) Aristotle's One-Way Model of Communication. 

(ii) Shannon: Weaver Theory. 

(iii) Schramm's Theory. 

(iv) Newcomb Theory. 

(v) Watlawick - Beavin- Jackson Theory. 

(vi) David Berlo's SMCR Model of communication. 

(vii) Indian Communication Theory. 


(i) Aristotle's One-Way Model of Communication:

Aristotle proposed the first model of communication as a one-way process, flowing from sender to receiver. According to this model, communication consists of three basic components a sender, a receiver and a message. Aristotle states that successful persuasion takes place when a sender uses the right techniques to give the right message to the right audience. He strongly emphasized the need for the sender to consider the features of the audience like their age, mood and temperament. Aristotle's model is important in spite of its simplicity because it forms the basis of the later models of communication.

(ii) Shannon: Weaver Theory:

Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver gave a theory of communication where they added the concept of encoding noise and feedback to the process of communication. This model of communication, also known as the Mathematical Model of Communication, has the following five main components Information Source, Transmitter, Channel, Receiver and Destination. The information source produces the message. The transmitter encodes the message into proper symbols and signals for transmission. The channel carries the signals from the transmitter to the receiver. The receiver decodes the signals according to the level of understanding. The destination is the final consumer of the message. Later, Shannon and Weaver introduced another important component to the process of communication - the noise source which interferes with the message in the channel. Shannon and Weaver also realized the importance of the sign theory which stated that the message should not be sent to the receiver in the raw form. Rather it should be encoded in a form which is acceptable for the receiver.

(iii) Schramm's Theory:

In his theory of communication, Schramm includes the elements of sender, receiver, encoding, channel, decoding and feedback. According to this theory, the process of communication follows a circuitous path.

(iv) Newcomb Theory:

According to this theory, communication takes place because of the reactions of individuals to each other and the topics discussed. Newcomb states that the main factors in the communication process are receiver and the meaning associated with the words stated.

(v) Watlawick - Beavin- Jackson Theory:

This theory states that communication takes place as a result of behavior of the interactants. Their behavior is dependent on the relationship between the individuals and it varies from individual to individual. A new element called meta communication is added to this theory of communication. This theory was the first to propose that communication is a two-way process.

(vi) David Berlo's SMCR Model of communication:

David Berlo proposed that there are four basic components in the process of communication-Source, Message, Channel and Receiver. All these components are interrelated. The effectiveness of the Source depends on its communication skills, attitude, knowledge, social and cultural context. The message is the content or matter of communication. The channel is the medium through which the message is sent to the receiver. The receiver's communication skills, attitude, knowledge, social and cultural context also plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of the communication process. Later, Berlo added the component of feedback to the process of communication. According to David Berlo, a piece of communication is like a bucket in which bits of information drawn from many sources are dumped on the receiver. As such this theory of communication is called Bucket Theory of Communication.

(vii) Indian Communication Theory:

Bharat Muni, an Indian sage, terms 'sadharanikaran' as the key process in communication. He says that it takes place between 'sahridayas' - people whose hearts are attuned to each other. In order to be a 'sahridayas', the sender and the receiver need to have a common culture, common learning and be adapted to each other. This theory emphasizes the receiver's mental conditioning by which he/she can be in tune with the message. According to Indian communication theory, communication is a mental search for meaning whose aim is self-knowledge, freedom and reaching the truth.

(2) What are the  Communication Cycle ? Explain.

Ans: The Communication Cycle

The communication cycle consists of interconnected stages which are as follows:

(i) Generation of an idea: The communication cycle begins when an idea, thought, feeling or a piece of information comes to the mind of the sender and he/she wishes to transmit it to someone else.

(ii) Encoding: It is the process of putting the generated idea into suitable symbols or signs so that the idea is represented for the purpose of transmission.

(iii) Message: The idea encoded by the communicator in suitable signs and symbols forms the subject matter of communication which is called the message.

(iv) Channel and Media: The message thus formed is sent to the receiver through suitable channel and media.

(v) Decoding: It is the process of interpreting the meaning of the message by the receiver or listener. It means interpretation and understanding of what has been said in the message.

(3) What is Oral Communication ? Write its advantages and disadvantages/limitations.

Ans: When a message or idea is conveyed orally, that is, through speech, it isknown as oral communication. Examples of oral communication include faceto face conversations, telephone calls, group discussions etc. 


(i) Time saving: Oral communication is immediate and does not need time for dictation, typing and mailing as needed in written communication.

(ii) Inexpensive: Oral communication is economical since it does not involve the expenses of stationery and mailing.

(iii) Effective tool of persuasion and control: Oral communication gives a personal touch which helps in resolving conflicts and disputes.

(iv) Flexible and spontaneous: During oral communication the speaker has the scope to modify the message according to the feedback of the audience.

(v) Suitable for group communication: Oral communication is the most suitable mode of communication when communicating with groups at meetings, conferences, assemblies,etc.

(vi) Promotes goodwill: Oral communication promotes friendly interpersonal relations and helps to create goodwill.


(i) Low retention: Oral communication when unrecorded cannot be retained for a long time.

(ii) No legal validity: Unrecorded oral messages do not have legal validity.

(iii) Greater chances of misunderstanding: Oral communication made without proper planning and organization of thoughts has greater chances of being misunderstood and confused.

(iv) Difficult to trace: Unrecorded oral communication is unreliable since the source cannot be easily traced and it becomes difficult to fix responsibility for mistakes.

(v) Cannot be referred to in future: Generally oral communication is not recorded and so it cannot be referred to in the future.

(vi) Dependent on listener's attentiveness: Oral communication relies on the listener's interest and receptivity in order to be effective.

(4) What is Written Communication ? Write its advantages and disadvantages/limitations.

Ans: Communication through written words is known as written communication. Written communication includes letters, memos, reports, email etc.


(i).Accurate and precise: Written communication is made with great care after serious planning and organizing. So, it is more accurate and precise.

(ii) Creates permanent record: Written communication becomes a permanent record of the organization which can be used for future reference.

(iii) Legal evidence: Written records are accepted as legal evidences in the courts of law.

(iv)  Wide access: Written messages can be communicated to a large and scattered audience at a reasonable cost and with great speed.

(iv) Promotes the goodwill of the organization: Prompt and efficient written communication promotes the goodwill of the organization. 

(vi) Helps in fixing responsibility: Since written communication is preserved, it helps in fixing responsibility.


(i) Expensive: Written communication is expensive because it consumes valuable time of the executives and the cost of stationery, postage, typing, etc. makes it an expensive affair.

(ii)Time consuming: Written communication consumes a lot of time in preparation of the message, typing and mailing it through the proper channel.

(iii) Inflexible: Immediate clarification of written communication is not possible and it cannot be changed according to need.

(iv) No immediate feedback: The response from written communication is normally received after a long time.

(v) Creates huge paperwork and files: Traditional written communication involves heaps of papers and files. However, electronic modes of written communication do not create such problems.

(5) What are elements of Non-Verbal Communication ? Explain.


Write an illustrations note on postures, gestures, attire and appearance as facets of body language.

Ans:  Elements of Non-Verbal Communication

1. Kinesics

Kinesics refers to the study of non-verbal communication through physical body movements. Our body language is often involuntary and can be a useful cue to accessing the sender's psychological state. For example, arms crossed over the chest suggests that the person is either defensive or in disagreement with the ideas and opinions of the other communicator.

Kinesics can involve the following physical qualities:

i) Appearance: Even though appearances are known to be deceptive, a lot can be perceived about a person by the way they present themselves. For instance, if a person comes to the workplace in an unkempt, casual appearance, the employers might think that he/she is not serious about his/her professional responsibilities. Therefore, one must always present himself/herself with the the prevalent culture of the work place.

ii) Posture: The manner in which a person holds their shoulders, neck or back is referred to as posture. Postures are often indicative of a person's attitude and opinions. For example:

  ● Head duck means that one is shirking from responsibility or avoiding work.

  ● Hands placed on hips suggest that the person is angry or irritated.

  ● A slumped posture usually signifies low spirits.

iii) Gestures: Gestures are hand movements performed to complement verbal communication and make it more engaging. Gestures vary across cultures and may lead to miscommunication. For example, while clapping may show appreciation, slow claps are used as a gesture of sarcastic disapproval. 

Some common gestures include:

  ● Tapping fingers while communicating suggests that a person is anxious.

  ●Showing up one's palm suggests that the person has nothing to hide.

  ●Pointing one's finger at a person or object performs a locative function.

iv) Facial expressions and eye contact: Facial expressions are responsible for conveying feelings and emotions and indicate a person's attitude towards the topic of conversation. Eyes play an important part in complementing facial

expressions. While a continuous and stable eye contact suggests sincerity and involvement in the communication, a wandering eye suggests distraction and guilt.

2. Proxemics

Proxemics is the study of space between the sender and the receiver. A lot can be observed about the relationship between the sender and the receiver by studying their proximity or distance from one another. In 1966, Edward T. Hall identified four distinct zones within the communication space. These are as follows:

i) Intimate zone: The intimate zone extends to a radius of 18 inches. This zone is only for family members and very close acquaintances. Touch forms an important element of communication in this zone.

ii) Personal zone: Personal zone, lying beyond the intimate space, extends from a radius of 1.5 to 4feet. This zone is for close friends and colleagues. It is a relaxed and casual zone.

iii) Social zone: Social zone extends from a radius of 4 to 12 feet. This space is organizational in nature and negotiations take place within the social zone.

iv) Public zone: Public zone extends beyond the radius of 12 feet and extends to 25ft. Oral communication and paralanguage play an active role in this zone which is usually characterized by mass address.

3. Chronemics

Chronemics is the study of the element of time and its role in the communication process. Chronemics plays an important role in suggesting one's professionalism and efficiency. However, the importance of time varies across cultures and organizations. While strong emphasis is laid on punctuality in a business environment, the same may not be applicable in a domestic environment.

4. Haptics

Haptics is the language of touch. It is subject to gender and cross-cultural variation. In the east, touching is closely related with displays of intimacy. While people in the West shake hands, in the East, people prefer to bow.

5. Paralanguage

Paralanguage, derived from the words, 'para' and 'language' means 'beyond language'. It refers to vocal features which assist the manner of exchange in communication. Paralanguage consists of the following elements:

1) Vocalization: Vocalization of words involves:

a) Volume Variation: The amplitude of sound reveals the emotional state of the speaker. While a whisper indicates secrecy, a louder voice suggests anger or assertion.

b) Speed: Speedy deliverance should not be confused with fluency. Hurried speech suggests nervousness while slow and relaxed delivery promotes better understanding and reduces the risk of miscommunication.

c) Pitch variation: Pitch refers to the shrillness of sound. Pitch variation makes communication dynamic. Low pitch variation indicates stability while high pitch variation suggests a volatile emotional state.

d) Silence and pauses: Silence and pauses in communication help the listener to understand better by providing necessary time to receive and decode messages thus promoting effective communication.

2) Word Stress: Meaning of sentences may vary because of stress laid on different words in the same sentence.

  For example,

  Is this how you live?

  Is this how you live?

  Is this how you live?

  Is this how you live?

3) Inflections: Inflections are the regional or cultural variations attached to utterances. For example, British English differs greatly from Indian English on account of accent and variety of speech.

4) Non-fluencies: Non-fluencies are utterances such as "umm", "err", "oh", "okay" etc. which act as fillers in conversation. Some non-fluencies are helpful and give the receiver time to grasp the meaning of the sender while an excess could make the speaker sound anxious or non-serious and might as well irritate the receiver.

6. Sign Language: Sign language is constitutive of symbols specific to communicative groups and usually signifies a universal meaning. Signs can be categorised into

a) Audio Signs:

               Conch shells

               Door bells

               Race whistle

b) Visual Signs: 

                Traffic signal

                Highway signals

                Graphs and maps

c) Audio- Visual Signs: 



                                         Mobile GPS Service

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